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THE DARK AESTHETIC AND NOCTURNAL SOUND OF EDITORS’ ROCK EVOLUTION

In our culture of music streaming and saturated playlists, musicians in 2019 seem to share one common goal – longevity. Successful albums and singles in isolation have become the norm, but hiding between the masses of endless hits, there seem to be a few bands that manage to get the balance just right. And this is why we are so excited to chat with Editors. Formed in Birmingham in 2002 while most of the band’s members were studying Music Technology at Staffordshire University, Editors are still making great music to this day. Staying in the shadows, Editors have gone on to release six Top 10 albums, out-living many bands of their contemporary. While their identity and unique style has remained with them throughout the years, they have still managed to establish themselves as one of the most consistently evolving bands in the UK, proving that good taste is timeless. From the wiry and raw sound of their debut album to the saw-toothed experimental electronica-sound of their latest project, their brand of dark indie rock has remained consistent throughout. Sitting down with Tom Smith, Russell Leetch, Ed Lay, Justin Lockey and Elliot Williams, we wanted to hear all about the band’s multiple past successes, and where they see themselves heading in the future.

“It has been a fairly quiet year for us in some ways. We have played a lot of festivals this summer, although not as many as in previous years, but it has been our second summer on the record. They have all been great. This year we also put out a different version of our last record – The Blanck Mass recording. It is just a different version of the record we made, so that has been really interesting for fans. We did a bit of touring at the beginning of the year as well. We went over to LA and did a bit of recording for the new songs that will be coming out on our next record later this year. It was wicked. It was a lot of fun. It has been a very fun year actually.”

“Over our last six albums it has been a bit of a stylistic journey. After the third record our line-up changed, and we had two new members come in and one member leave. It is ever changing, and we are now more open to doing things a bit more electronically by using computers and stuff. We always just do what feels right at the time. The first album was a lot more guitar based and now we just pick how we want to produce it. We are quite happy in the studio now, we like recording ourselves and we like doing the production ourselves.” 

“When we first album came out, someone labelled us Boy Division. I think it was supposed to be a negative comment, but it is actually genius. That was quite good.” 

Filled with tension and packed with emotion, their last record, Violence (2018), is a gritty and adventurous ride. Tackling themes of humanity and anger, Violence fuses an abrasive rock sound with hints of pop, producing a new, accessible generation of music. “I would recommend a listen be on a drive when hearing our music. Cars are good because you can’t really fidget and change the song. You are focussed. Our music works well at night time, there is a dark aesthetic to what we do.”

Along with the release of Violence, another incredible album adding to their impressive back-catalogue which includes two Number 1 albums and three platinum certifications, Editors have also consistently enjoyed sold-out tours and multiple headlining festival slots, including supporting The Cure at British Summer Time in Hyde Park. “Over the years our audience has changed. But it also depends on where we are. If we go to Russia, our audience are younger. But in Italy, it will be different again. It changes on where we play, and it changes on the record too. Some fans might like one album but not like the direction of the other. I think trying to take people on a journey is important. But then saying that you might lose some people. When we started out it was just middle-aged men, but over the years it has evened out a bit.”

With 2019 came the release of The Blanck Mass Sessions. The story of this project begins in 2017, when Editors invited producer Benjamin John Power, aka Blanck Mass, to deconstruct the recordings that were to be the building blocks of Violence and reassemble them in his signature style, casting all eight tracks in a bold new light. The warmth of the album version’s acoustic guitar and industrial fuelled chorus are replaced with sparse, ethereal synths, giving The Blanck Mass Sessions a mechanical, other-worldly edge, and offering a fascinating insight into the album’s creative process. “It is always interesting putting work into someone else’s hands. But you always go through that process when you make a record. We were quite easy about it. It is nice to hear where someone else will take something that you have been working on – it’s fun. I like the collaborative process. It is always nice working with different people. I have always quite liked the sound of Danger Mouse. It would be cool to see what he did.”

This summer came the release of Editors latest and most dance-leaning track yet, Frankenstein, which the band describes as ‘a song for the freaks, a song of joy and escapism, a cartoon song for the different and for the night.’ “I like that people can now pick and mix between different genres. Over the years we have kind of relaxed a bit. With “Frankenstein” we just tried to make it a bit more ‘fun’, for want of a better word. We wanted to embrace the melody and be a bit more ‘in-your-face’. Earlier on, we were a bit more worried about losing our vibe. But now, we just like exploring different things. Music is a bit more relaxed now. It’s all down to the way people consume music now. We were talking to Jacknife about this, and about how bands are trying to keep things fresh while still keeping it themselves. The role of being an indie-rock band nowadays is different to just getting in a room and thrashing it out. It can be easy to get confused.” 

With years of experience producing subliminally lo-fi, timeless, and genre-defying music, we can’t wait to see where Editors take it next. “With every record we make, and when I start writing the songs, there is always a sense of where they should shift to next. Together, we just get to a place, when we combine all our tastes. It is not that forced. One day, we could make a more acoustic sounding record. Our music tends to go towards a more epic nature; the cinematic quality will always be there.” 

“We have got the Best Of album coming. After six records in, it just made sense. We have got a few new tracks on it. It is just a refresher course. I think we are at that point where because we have been a band for a while, there is a lot to get into now. Sometimes when you get into a new band you have this overwhelming catalogue of music and you don’t know where to start. Some people turn their noses up at Best Of records, but I think it is quite cool. If you have no prior knowledge it gives people a place to start.”

Photography LEE & ARTHUR  

Styling ZOE KOZLIK  

Grooming ELLIE MORRIS 

Writer LILY MOORE

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